A Musical Life with Hugh Sung

Pianist Hugh Sung shares stories about making music and what moves our souls. Featuring interviews with musicians from a wide variety of genres, including Classical, Folk, Rock, Jazz, and beyond. Visit for all episodes and show notes. New episodes coming every Monday.
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Now displaying: February, 2016
Feb 29, 2016
Demarre McGill, Principal Flutist of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra

Demarre McGill is one of the leading young American flutists of our time. Winner of the Avery Fisher Career Grant, Demarre has been a sought after soloist and chamber musician. He is also the co-founder of The Art of Élan, an innovative chamber music organization in San Diego that introduces new audiences to classical music in unique venues and programs.

I’ve known Demarre ever since his student days at Curtis, studying under Julius Baker and Jeffrey Khaner. He was amazing from the get go, and it’s been no surprise to see his stratospheric rise to the top of the classical music world. Demarre has appeared as soloist with several of the top orchestras in the US, worked as principal flutist with several others, collaborated in chamber music around the world, and has made multiple television appearances on PBS, A&E, NBC, and even Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.


Demarre McGill's Website -

Art of Élan -

Dallas Symphony Orchestra -

Merit School of Music in Chicago -

The Curtis Institute of Music -

Feb 22, 2016
Sandy Marcucci, Co-Founder of The Philadelphia International Music Festival

What if you could design the perfect summer music camp? Sandy Marcucci wanted to do just that for her daughter studying the violin with Kim Fisher from the Philadelphia Orchestra, so she started literally in her own backyard. Now, 20 years later, the Philadelphia International Music Festival has become a major destination for hundreds of students around the world, who get to study with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Most summer music camps have a selective audition process which prospective students need to pass in order to attend. This summer, I’ll be one of the piano directors at the Philadelphia International Music Festival, which takes place on the beautiful campus of Bryn Mawr University. One of the things that makes PIMF so unique is that fact that it’s open to music students of all ages and ability levels. Its audition process is used to customize the student’s experience rather than select them. The result is a welcoming experience where everyone is immersed in classical music and given the opportunity to make their own best progress with the help of master teachers from the Philadelphia Orchestra.


The Philadelphia International Music Festival:

The Philadelphia Orchestra:

Feb 15, 2016
Vera Wilson, Founder and President of Astral

Vera Wilson is the founder and president of Astral, an arts organization in Philadelphia that has helped to launch the careers of classical music superstars such as pianist Simone Dinnerstein, Grammy award-winning guitarist Jason Vieaux, and the classical crossover group Time for Three.

For young classical musicians, the path from conservatory to career can be a daunting one. Vera Wilson, my guest for this episode, sought to provide a unique service to help the most talented musicians through her visionary organization, Astral. Now in its 24th year, Astral has become a vital Philadelphia institution, providing concerts, community outreach and education programs, as well as invaluable training and support for their carefully selected roster of artists.

Musical Selections

Time for Three: "Thunder Stomp" by Ranaan Meyer

Jason Vieaux, Guitar: Agustin Barrios Waltz, Op. 8, No. 4

Simone Dinnerstein, Piano: J.S. Bach Goldberg Variations; Aria


Astral's website:

Astral's National Auditions info: 


Phone: 215-735-6999

If you're interested in becoming a supporter or patron of Astral, email Vera directly at


Feb 8, 2016
Patrick Kavanaugh, Author, Composer, and Founder of the Masterworks Festival

Dr. Kavanaugh is the author of several books that deal with faith and the arts, such as “Spiritual Lives of the Great Composers”. As a composer himself, he has a fascinating specialty that expands the musical language as most folks know it. Dr. Kavanaugh came to music relatively late, and his first exposure to the world of classical music will really surprise you!

In addition to his books and compositions, Dr. Kavanaugh is the founder and artistic director of the Masterworks Festival, an intensive four-week summer festival for advanced and passionate students of the classical performing arts with a Christian perspective. In this interview, we explore the question of "why" we make music, and the special role that faith can play in an artist's life.


The Masterworks Festival 

Christian Performing Arts Fellowship 

Feb 1, 2016
Jennifer Higdon, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Composer

Jennifer Higdon is one of the most performed living American composers today. She taught herself to play the flute at the age of 15, wrote her first composition when she was 21, then eventually went on to win the Pulitzer prize for her violin concerto in 2010. She recently completed her first opera, “Cold Mountain”, which was premiered by the Santa Fe Opera in 2015 and is being performed in Philadelphia this week.

Jennifer Higdon and I have known each other since we were classmates at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Over the years it’s been such an honor and a delight to perform so many of her works - in fact, I even helped her record her very first album, Rapid Fire, way back in 1995. Despite all the well-deserved accolades Jennifer has received for her incredible compositions, she remains one of the sweetest, most genuine and down-to-earth persons I know.

In this special interview, Jennifer tells the stories behind some of her most popular compositions, and shares some practical insights into what it takes to be able to make a full-time living as a composer today. 


Jennifer's Website:

Info on ordering Jennifer's music: